A new TAFE college for the Peel region came closer to reality today with the announcement that a preferred site had been chosen.
Speaking in Mandurah today, Education and Training Minister Kay Hallahan said Murray MLA Keith Read had made persuasive claims that a new state of the art College was necessary for the Peel region to play its part in the State's economic development.
"If we are serious about competing with other States and nations, then we must have a highly skilled workforce. The Peel College will join the Statewide network of TAFE facilities which are preparing workers for the challenges of the future," Mrs Hallahan said.
The Minister announced she had instructed her department to begin negotiations to acquire the site.
"Independent consultants have identified a 20-hectare site in Fiegerts Road as suitable for a TAFE college," she said.
"The site is close to the proposed Perth to Bunbury highway extension, has immediate access to Pinjarra Road and is seen as central to the City of Mandurah and the Shires of Waroona, Murray and Boddington.
The first stage of the new college would cost an estimated $6 million and provide opportunities for more than 1,000 students.
"A survey of the training needs of the region is well advanced and the results will determine the types of courses offered at the college - so that they match the skilled labour needs of local industry."
Mrs Hallahan said eight sites had been considered by independent town planning consultants Thompson, Taylor and Burrell Pty Ltd.
"Negotiations will now begin to acquire the property, subject to confirmation of soil types and drainage requirements, and various assessments by government authorities will be carried out," she said.
"The Peel region is one of the fastest growing regions in the State and there is a clear need for a state of the art TAFE facility to provide training opportunities for local people."
Mrs Hallahan said TAFE would continue to expand its presence in Mandurah until the new college was built.
"TAFE's office in the Mandurah City Mall already offers a range of full-time and part-time courses for more than 150 people, and additional short term premises are being sought in the Mandurah city area to double the student capacity," she said.
The Minister commended the efforts of Murray MLA Keith Read and the work of the reference group comprising representatives from the City of Mandurah, the Shires of Murray, Boddington and Waroona, Department of Employment, Vocational Education and Training and the South West Development Authority.